Which Do You Prefer – Candid vs. Posed Photography

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Have you ever moved beyond candid photographs of your friends and family and tried to sit down for a formal portrait?  Candid moments are wonderful, but practicing your craft with the people around you both helps you hone your skills as a photographer and leads to precious moments with the people you love.  As a photographer, you’re probably always documenting things around you.  Whether with your full range of camera gear, or simply with snapshots on your phone.  Your eye is always gravitating towards one thing or another.  Examining the light, shadow and texture of a scene, for example.  So why, do you only take candid snapshots of your friends and family?  Yes, it’s fun, but if you consider yourself a Photographer, then why not bring your skills to the people that you know and love?

Candid photographs are ones that truly capture the moment, as opposed to more structured, posed images.  Candid photos can produce some of the best moments during a photo session.  These might be people showing off their moves on the dance floor, or a bridge giving her dad a hug before they walk down the aisle together.  Candids are all about snapping photos of people when they’re being themselves and not necessarily posing for the camera.  Which is why they’re often the most treasured moments and photos from a photo session.

wedding

But posed shots don’t necessarily mean that they images can’t be great.  The person having their picture taken doesn’t mean they have to be standing still and looking at the camera.  They can do their own thing.  And they can still capture the essence of what you’re trying to do. Or what they’re trying to do.  Both approaches are interesting and can produce some amazing results.  Wedding photography is typically the one you see the most in terms of posed photography.  But a lot of wedding photographers try to take candid shots to get at the heart of the event.

Candid shots sometimes involve people who are unaware that you’re taking photos of them.  I take a lot of photos of my nephew in a candid way.  He’s 2, and sometimes I get really great photos of him, and sometimes I don’t.  What’s interesting to me is that he’s figured out I’m taking these photos and he will wave his hand in front of the camera so I can’t.  I call it his paparazzi wave, and he is the celebrity in this instance.

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What do you think is better?  Honestly, I think they both have advantages.  Posed photography tells a different kind of story.  But candid photography more often demonstrates an intensity in the moment.  Or at least, that’s what I think.  If I go back to the example of my nephew – I have taken some pretty amazing candid photos of him running amok or generally being silly.  He doesn’t pose well at that age, so it can be more challenging.  On the other hand posed photography gives you a snapshot from a specific moment in time.  You have the ability to adjust the lighting, make sure everyone looks good, and that everything is “perfect” for the image you want to take.  So, which do you prefer posed or candid when it comes to your photography?